An artist’s collage juxtaposes the real-life conditions Palestinian workers face in the occupied West Bank with Scarlett Johansson’s role as SodaStream spokesmodel. (Courtesy Electronic Intifada)
Outside the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan, activists demonstrate against U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his peace proposal, Jan. 29, 2014. (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP/Getty Images)
A Jewish settler (unseen at left) places the Israeli flag on a road sign as Israeli troops encircle Palestinian villagers protesting the army’s cutting branches off olive trees on a road leading to the illegal Jewish settlement of Tekoa, south of Bethlehe
Dr. Eyad El Serraj at a 1993 press conference in East Jerusalem denouncing Israel’s use of torture. (Ruben Bittermann/Photofile)
U.N. and Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (l) and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Jan. 22 press conference closing the Geneva II peace talks on Syria. (Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images)
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August 2007, page 61
USS Liberty Ceremony at Navy Memorial
USS Liberty survivors and friends at the Navy Memorial in Washington, DC (Staff photo S. Rhodin).
SURVIVORS OF Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS Liberty gathered at the Navy Memorial in Washington, DC on June 8 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the attack, which killed 34 American soldiers and injured 172 others. Speakers included Page Harrington, from the Navy memorial; Glen Oliphant,Liberty survivor andvice president of the USS Liberty Veterans’ Association (USS-LVA); fellowLiberty survivor and USS-LVA president Ernie Gallo; attorney Peter Viering; and former U.S. Ambassador Edward Peck. Ambassador Peck and Viering read statements by Ambassador James Akins, a member of the 2003 Independent Commission of Inquiry headed by the late Admiral Thomas Moorer; by Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, former Navy judge advocate general and also member of the Independent Commission of Inquiry; by Captain Ward Boston, former senior counsel to 1967 Navy Court of Inquiry; and by former Congressman Paul Findley.
Following the presentation of colors by Navy officers, the speakers made brief statements expressing grief for the deaths and injuries caused by the attacks, gratitude toward the Liberty crew for their service and search to find the truth, and demanding a full congressional investigation of the attacks and the subsequent White House actions. Addressing the gathering, Gallo noted that “’wounded’ is a subjective word. Some heal quickly and others do not. We are talking about the crew who were predominately in their early 20s. We have a few who became completely disabled. Others have suffered early divorces, sleepless nights, night sweats, nightmares, and post traumatic stress disorder.”
Gallo and other speakers expressed anger toward the U.S. government for continuing to cover up Israel’s “deliberate and planned” attack on the ship. In his letter, read by Viering, Paul Findley pointed blame toward the U.S. leadership at the time of the attacks. President Lyndon Johnson “ordered the rescue mission aborted and an immediate official cover-up of Israel’s bloody outrage,” Findley wrote, adding that it’s “a cover-up that still prevails.”
Stated Ambassador Peck: “It is totally unacceptable that...our government has steadfastly refused to permit the survivors of the deadliest attack on a Navy ship since WWII to tell properly constituted official investigators what happened on that fateful day.”
Following the statements, Oliphant read the names of the 34 soldiers who died in the attack, as a bell was rung for each name. Harrington accompanied two officers to place a wreath in front of a bronze sailor on the memorial grounds.